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As one who was around when the first wave of thrash arrived during the mid-80's, I can say that this is the real deal. Listening to this album brings me back to the days when I walked around with dyed black hair and upside-down cross earrings, wore my Slayer and Nuclear Assault T-shirts till they were in tatters and would literally use my last 8 bucks to buy a band's album and then collect my returnable deposit beer bottles when I needed to buy cigarettes.
My 2 favorite things about this album: the vocals and the riffs. The singer has a nice aggressive edge to his voice, very different from the high-pitched, bordering-on-falsetto screams that bands like Anthrax and the like were using. I would consider these to be pure thrash vocals, never crossing the line into death metal territory, but angry and at times gruff as befitting this style of music. While the 2 don't sound anything alike, I get a vibe from Uffe Petersson on this album that makes me think of James Hetfield on RIde the Lightning. You know, back when Metallica was an actual thrash band instead of mainstream music media's poster "metal" band.
The guitar sound is another standout; reasonably clean and easy to decipher but without sacrificing any heaviness. Then Came the Killing is well-produced without being over-produced. Standout tracks for me are And Then Came the Killing, Ancient Terror, and The Final Holocaust. The first 3 in order, in fact, but the rest of the album's good too.
The band even look right, opting for the accepted late 80's thrash "uniform" of ultra-long hair, ripped and faded jeans, leather motorcycle jacket and high top sneakers. Although the album didn't come out until 1990, it is clear where Mezzrow's sensibilities lie.
Nothing super-unique going on here, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. Mezzrow represent high-quality thrash of the old school. If you're a fan of that kind of music then I highly recommend this. A little-known gem that I missed the first time around.
Mezzrow grabbed my attention purely based on the fact that I wanted to dig up as many old thrash bands as I possibly could. At first listen I was pretty excited for this album. After hearing the title track, I knew this would be good. After hearing the rest of the album, I was right and wrong. I do like this album, but there are some pretty significant flaws.
First off, the production is kind of flat. The guitars are pretty thin and don’t really have any power behind them. They still sound OK but have a lot to be desired. The drums are pretty one dimensional, the way they are played and how they sound. Not much power behind them either. The bass is not there unless they have a section where it is just bass being played. The vocals are pretty good though. Standard thrash vocals. Nothing new but they get the job done.
The songs themselves are good. Lots of heavy chugging riffs and lots of thrash riffs. Every song is thrashy and heavy. However, a lot of the songs seem to follow the exact same formula. A lot of the choruses are structured the exact same and the album starts to drag 4 or 5 songs in. A lot of the songs start the same, usually a pretty heavy riff with slower drums backing it up, then the speed comes in. “Prevention Necessary” kind of breaks this cycle with a nice bass intro but then starts with the usual formula this album seems to follow.
Overall this is an enjoyable listen, just maybe not in one sitting. If you’re looking for straight-forward thrash with some pretty heavy riffs, I would recommend this to you.
Best tracks – “Then Came the Killing”, “Prevention Necessary”, and “The Cross of Torment”
Then Came the Killing is an exhibit of everything reliable and satisfying in thrash metal. There is nothing particularly extraordinary here, but neither can any of the tracks be faulted.
Each track is brimming with chugging riffs, puncuated with nice leads and some Vio-Lence style chorus shouts from time to time. It is certainly interesting to hear this sound coming out of Sweden, as the band would easily merge seamlessly into the swathe of American thrash bands who pursued polished, catchy thrash metal. Perhaps this is the band's weak point - it would be hard to pinpoint anything exceptional about their sound.
The album was released in 1990, but shows no sign of relenting to other influences - this is pure, 100% thrash metal, and will quench your thirst for track after track of bludgeoning drums and guitars. However, I found that it got slightly too predictable and monotous towards the last few tracks; every song being delivered on a near identical blueprint leaves the listener craving some other directions which Mezzrow stubbornly refuse to explore.
The production is beefy and brutal, and as a no compromise chugging thrash album, Then Came The Killing achieves its purpose with ease. However, don't expect any departure from the typical American-style polished thrash blueprint. Enjoyable for the duration, but not one to come back to again and again.